Dot Hall of Fame welcomes Senate President Murray

Senate Pres. Therese Murray: St. Mark’s “girl”Senate Pres. Therese Murray: St. Mark’s “girl”State Senate President Therese Murray, who grew up in St. Mark’s Parish, will be inducted into the Dorchester Hall of Fame this Saturday as part of the annual fundraising brunch for the Mary Ann Brett Food Pantry of Blessed Mother Teresa Parish.

Murray, a Democrat who moved to Plymouth over 30 years ago, became Senate president in 2007, the first woman to hold the post.

“I’m proud of the fact that I grew up in Dorchester,” Murray told the Reporter in a recent interview, adding that she often notes that she is “OFD” – Originally From Dorchester. “That’s where my roots are,” she said.

Murray lived in Brighton Hill and Mission Hill before her family moved to Dorchester, buying a single-family house on Shepton Street. She graduated from St. Mark’s Grammar School and Cardinal Cushing High School for Girls and later obtained a certificate in management from UMass Boston in Dorchester.

She remembers St. Mark’s Parish as “self-contained” and centered around the church, with the Catholic Youth Organization and dances.

“We walked everywhere,” she said, “including to the Howard Johnson’s on Morrissey Boulevard.”

Her first job was at the South End hardware store where her father worked on Friday nights and Saturday at one of his three jobs, the other two being manager of an office for a book company and a position with a catering outfit.

“We were expected to get our working papers when we were 14 and we were happy to,” Murray recalled.

Her second job was at Carney Hospital, where her mother worked as a bookkeeper. She cleaned out hospital rooms and bedpans.

“I think we got great roots, and great values, growing up in Dorchester,” she said.

Murray also became involved in local campaigns, dropping literature for the late Ward 16 state Rep. Paul Murphy, who would later go on to preside over the West Roxbury District Court. She also volunteered for the late Edward Kennedy.

Murray, who is 65, was elected to the state Senate in 1992 and rose through the ranks over the course of 20 years, from chair of the Joint Committee on Human Services and Elder Affairs to chair of the Committee on Ways and Means before her colleagues elected her president in 2007. She worked on a variety of bills during her time in the Senate, ranging from a welfare overhaul in 1995 to a health care cost bill in 2008.

Due to term limits, her tenure as president ends in 2015.
The brunch is set for the Blessed Mother Teresa Church hall on Columbia Road at 10 a.m.

Other politicians who have been inducted into the Dorchester Hall of Fame include state Rep. Marty Walsh, former District 3 Councillor Maureen Feeney, and former Suffolk County Sheriff Richard Rouse.